On January 3, the leaders of five nuclear-weapon states (US, Russia, China, the United Kingdom, France, collectively P5) issued a joint statement on “preventing nuclear war and avoiding armed competition.”
The statement issued after the third COVID-19-related postponement of the long-awaited 10th Review Conference (RevCon) of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) was important for several reasons.
“We can’t win the nuclear war, we can never fight,” the leaders agreed in a statement, repeating the groundbreaking declarations of Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev at the 1985 Summit in Geneva. rice field. The United States, Russia and China have already reaffirmed the Reagan-Gorbachev Declaration on various occasions in recent years. However, Britain and France have long resisted, arguing that affirming the pledge could undermine the deterrence of their nuclear weapons. France, which has a nuclear doctrine of retaining the right to use tactical nuclear weapons against attackers as a “final warning,” was particularly resistant. Therefore, France and the United Kingdom, which agreed to include this pledge in the joint statement, made great progress.
In the statement, the five leaders also cited reducing nuclear risk as one of their “priority responsibilities.” It is in the Stockholm Initiative’s efforts for nuclear disarmament initiated by 16 non-nuclear-weapon states in 2019 with the aim of promoting the successful outcomes of the NPT’s 10th Review Conference through the building of political support. It seems to have responded. For a practical and results-oriented nuclear agenda. “
In 2020, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the NPT, members of the Stockholm Initiative have adopted a series of proposals or “stepping stones” aimed primarily at minimizing the risk of using nuclear weapons through declarative commitments. On January 3, five nuclear-weapon states met this requirement by including a firm commitment to “avoid nuclear war” in their joint statement.
In a statement, nuclear-weapon states also announced their desire to “work with all nations to build a security environment that facilitates the progress of disarmament,” thereby the nuclear disarmament introduced by the United States. Revived support for the CEND initiative. CEND reconfirmation is important because it includes nuclear weapons that own countries outside the NPT and is therefore much more comprehensive. In addition, unlike NPT RevCon, which requires lengthy preparation and allows only rigorous and formal discussions, it allows involvement in informal settings and leaves space for flexible discussions. However, it is important to note that the CEND Initiative has been criticized in various ways as an attempt to distract attention from the fact that nuclear-weapon states did not advance their disarmament pledges. This initiative has also surfaced long-standing tensions between deterrence advocates who prioritize stabilizing relations between nuclear-weapon states and supporters of disarmament to promote the reduction of nuclear weapons.
Overall, the January 3 joint statement will take all the correct notes at the declaration level, slightly relieving tensions on the rapidly deteriorating relationship between the United States and Russia on the one hand and the United States and China on the other. Served its purpose. However, despite all its positive aspects, this statement is unlikely to reverse the ongoing negative orbit of global non-proliferation on earth.
Indeed, the nuclear power modernization programs of all five nuclear-weapon states are moving forward unabated. Instead of reducing nuclear weapons spending, the Biden administration plans to spend a whopping $ 634 billion on the operation, maintenance and modernization of US nuclear weapons between 2021 and 2030. Similarly, China continues to expand its nuclear weapons with a powerful “nuclear triad” -a three-pillar military structure that includes land-launched nuclear missiles, nuclear missile-armed submarines, and strategic aircraft with nuclear bombs and missiles. Beijing is known for testing state-of-the-art weapon systems such as hypersonic glide vehicles, and has reportedly begun construction of hundreds of new ballistic missile silos nationwide. Just one day after the announcement of the joint statement, China said it would continue to “modernize” its nuclear weapons, calling on the United States and Russia, which own more than 90% of the world’s warheads. Reduce their nuclear weapons instead. The September 2021 AUKUS Security Agreement between the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia sets a difficult precedent for the future of non-proliferation regimes as part of the Australian military’s acquisition of nuclear submarines.
A joint statement by the five nuclear-weapon states also shows no sign that important steps towards nuclear disarmament may be taken in the near future. Many important initiatives that could help the world move towards disarmament, such as the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), are not even mentioned in the joint statement. All this shows, at least for now, that the focus of nuclear-weapon states is limited to risk mitigation measures and there is no real desire for a direct disarmament debate.
When the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), which calls for a comprehensive and explicit ban on the development and possession of nuclear weapons, came into force, the lack of a desire for disarmament in nuclear-weapon states was already clearly focused. January 2021. No country supports the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Many non-nuclear armed members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), including Germany, believe in US nuclear weapons, along with states like Australia and Japan, despite theoretically supporting non-proliferation. Therefore, we do not support the agreement. Weapons enhance their overall security.
There are many other signs that the future of nuclear non-proliferation is at stake. Recent failures of the NPT include the inability of members to adopt a set of common recommendations for the 2020 RevCon at 2019 PrepCom, and the end of important arms control agreements such as the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and the Open. The air treaty, and rising tensions between the United States and Russia, and between the United States and China, left many supporters of nuclear disarmament without great hope for the future.
In this context, the January 3 statement should be seen as a step in the right direction, perhaps very small, but still important. There are no signs that the status quo will change significantly in the near future. However, with this statement, the five most powerful nations in the world have pledged to evade nuclear weapons for the first time. This should still be blessed.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author himself and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.
https://www.aljazeera.com/opinions/2022/1/14/the-p5-pledge-to-avoid-nuclear-war-should-be-celebrated We should celebrate P5’s pledge to avoid nuclear war | Nuclear Weapons